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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  May 15, 2017 4:58pm-5:29pm PDT

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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> historic highs. what a way to start the week. stocks closed at records, but can the quiet rally last? >> risk protection. how the biggest ransomware attack in history is demanding a product that you know exists. >> staying put. is out-of-control competition for homes fueling the renovation boom? those stories, and more, tonight on "nightly business report" for monday, may 15th. good evening, everyone. halfway through may and investors had a pretty good start to the w the s&p 500 and the nasdaq closed at new highs, thanks to a rally in the price of oil that lifted energy shares. technology stocks also helped out, and the result was a record
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close for two of the three broad major indexes we follow. dow jones industrial average to 20,981. nasdaq up 28 to a record, and the s&p 500 gained 11, all-time high there as well. volatility remains sort of suspiciously low. in fact, this is the 14th straight day the s&p 500 has failed to move more than a half a percent in either direction, and that hasn't happened since 1995. as bon pisani reports right now, that's working for the market. >> stocks again hit historic highs today. one of the reasons the market has remained strong is that there's been considerable rotation among sectors in the last year. the market leaders fall back, and they're usually replaced by market laggards. it happened again today. what sectors have lagged the market this year? energy stocks and bank stocks. what led today? energy stocks and bank stocks. energy was particularly
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dominant. oil was again back near $50. saudi arabia and russia announced yet another extension to their agreement to cut back supply. now extended it through the first quarter of 2018. big oil stocks all traded up on that news today. now, stocks had been strong because risk has been lower recently. earnings guidance, for example, for the year has been strong. that's good news. the global economy is improving. that's good news. the geopolitical risk is much lower thanks to france. also good news. now, the traders had been complaining about the low volatility. but that's historically not a problem for markets. traders just don't trade as much. so why are the markets in such a tight trading range? well, it's not hard to figure out. right now stocks are relatively pricey. buyers are not terribly enthusiastic about buying a lot more adding more catalysts. they would rather wait for prices to drop and buy some more. the sellers are not enthusiastic
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about selling because they see the improving economy and worry the stocks could go much higher, which is what happened today. you have a tight trading range so you are at historic highs. bob pisani at the new york stock exchange. >> the markets have brushed off some of the rumblings in washington. the "washington post" is reporting that the president revealed highly classified information to russian diplomats. let's bring in michael farr, the president of the money management firm farr, miller and washington. michael, it's interesting that the market has shrugged off many of the happenings in washington. although this latest report from the "washington post," does it have the potential to unnerve the market tomorrow? >> thank you very much, as always, for having me. yes, i think clearly it has the potential to unnerve markets. we've been waiting for so many times now for this last straw that might break the market's
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back of confidence, and we haven't seen it. whether it was the missiles launched in syria or the mother of all bombs in afghanistan, or u.s. troops now off the coast of north korea, or north korea firing a missile, or a cyber attack affecting 200,000 computers in an instant, and now classified information, the market has shrugged off all these pieces of bad news and continue to go along and upward in a complacent way. the economy's expanding. and so to me, sue, this is bull market psychology. and bull market, you embrace the good news, discount the bad news. we're going to find out how thick this coat of armor perhaps on the markets really is. >> so michael, as you look at all of the things that you have to process as a money manager, and a stock selector, from the strength of the economy, to interest rates, to what the fed may do next month, to rates of
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inflation, home builders, all of that stuff, where does washington fit? is it number one on your list of things you're concerned about? number five? number ten? where? >> washington ranks pretty high. i mean, i look at the underlying fundamentals. underlying fundamentals are really fairly -- are good. it doesn't look like we're going in recession. it looks like the economy is expanding, earnings are coming in, stocks are expensive, but that part's okay. washington comes into play when washington changes the rules. in the financial crisis, all of a sudden monetary policy got to be very important. dodd/frank got to be very important. these changed the rules for investors. and for bank reserves. and they change. so will washington at this point do something to actually change the rules here again or to upset the apple cart, they can take front page, front stage news at just the worst times. we know the one thing markets
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don't like, tyler, is to be surprised. the news tonight is surprising. and it's just a matter of at what point will the markets suddenly decide that this is troubling? they haven't yet. >> not yet. but given what you just laid out, michael, what parts of the market do you feel secure in investing in? >> sue, i think this is a really important question, because in a market like this, particularly when a market's making new highs and we haven't gone down for a number of years, you have to know what you own and why you own it, so we choose to own companies with solid balance sheets and good cash flow and good earnings. not the companies necessarily that are going to go up and lead the market for the next couple of percentages, teslas of the world or netflix, or really on a fabulous roll, but the companies that will take care of our clients best if and when the market drops 20%. at some point, again, we'll see stocks fall 20%. it's normal. but you have to have a seat when
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the music stops. and this music's been playing for a long time. these guys have got to be getting tired. >> on that note, michael, thank you. >> thank you. cybersecurity stocks climbed following that global malware attack that michael mentioned, the attack which we told you about on friday, hit at least 150 countries and 200,000 computers, many that belonged to hospitals and fedex. experts who followed the cybersecurity industry say this attack could refocus attention on updating security infrastructure and benefit providers like vmware, palo alto 234 networks, which traded markedly higher today. the white house today addressed the attack, saying no federal systems have been struck so far. the homeland security adviser said less than $70,000 have been paid in ransom in the wake of
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the global want to cry attack. he added that he is aware of no instances in which a payment has led to the recovery of data. >> overall, the u.s. infektion rate has been lower than many parts of the world. we may see additional impacts on additional networks as these malware attacks morph and change. >> criminals were demanding about $300 to unlock infected computers. the malware attack is putting renewed focus on a product that few know exist, but could be the insurance industry's next cash cow. morgan brennan has that part of the story. >> the pransomware in an ef mor connected world. >> we see millions of organizations that are potentially vulnerable to this type of attack. >> i'm hesitant to say, we're seeing a cyber pearl harbor.
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but we've got to wake up to the real potential of a devastating attack in this way. >> but for the economic toll and the financial cost, it's also driving demand for an emerging business. >> the first calls were on friday. we've got a lot more calls today. and i think we'll see more through the weekends and months to come, particularly in industries that have historically underserved for cyber insurance like manufacturing. >> thomas regan advised his clients for insurer marsh, one of the most critical areas of focus. the investment seems to be payi. cyber insurance purchasing grew by 25% last year. and marsh isn't alone. other insurance companies from aig to beasley have reported similar growth, as more businesses seek protection in the case of a . the cyber insurance market is still relatively small. the insurance information jumped over $3 billion. but experts say it's poised to become the next big blockbuster
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business for the long struggling insurance industry with a market expected to triple by 2020. and it's no longer just about data breaches or theft of personal information either. now the policies include physical damage as manufacturing becomes smarter and machines become more connected. >> the most important thing is to get back online of the that's been our focus over the past couple of days, helping clients stop the immediate damage from an attack. >> also included, business interruption. a necessary component when a cyber ransom like wan a cry can cost a mere $300. but the impact from a frozen network, be it a hospital or factory floor, can cost millions. for "nightly business report," i'm morgan brennan. computer networks and broadband are part of america's infrastructure. and today the transportation secretary said the administration will release details on its big infrastructure plan in just a few weeks' time. speaking to the u.s. chamber of
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commerce, elaine chao said it will call for $200 billion in taxpayer money to generate about $1 trillion worth of private investment. and the projects could cover more than just roads and bridges. >> the administration's definition of infrastructure is also broad and inclusive. it not only recognizes traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, airports, inland waterways and ports, it may also potentially include energy, water, broadband, veterans hospitals as well. >> president trump's pledge to fix the nation's infrastructure was a top campaign promise. that stimulus is also something investors have been paying a lot of attention to, of course. and still ahead, amazon turns 20. it was a great investment for the past two decades. will it be for the next two?
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the world's second largest economy may have lost a little momentum in april. china's factory output was up 6.5%. the decline is a credit to weaker demand. it fell from the previous month. the data out of china comes as that country hosts an international summit to showcase its ambitious infrastructure project. the project includes massive spending and china hopes it will make the world's second largest economy more powerful and influential. a report tonight from beijing. >> china's first belton road forum has racked up.
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two things were going on at the summit. what china wants everyone to know about the initiative and what people were talking about behind the scenes. what china wants you to know is that this international diplomatic initiative aims to revive the old silk road trading group. it's meant to build infrastructure all over the world to boost the global economy and improve relations among trading partners. in fact, in his opening address, chinese president xi jinping sold it as a new form of globalization and presented himself as the international figure who would lead this fresh round of freer trade. >> translator: in a world where countries are interdependent and global challenges are frequent, no country can stay aloof and intact by relying on themselves, nor can they solve global problems. only by aligning policies of different countries and integrating economic factors and development resources globally can we converge energy for the promotion of world peace and common development.
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>> reporter: the numbers behind the belton road are massive. it's supposed to involve two-thirds of the world's population across more than 60 countries with hundreds of billions of dollars already pledged for projects. at the summit, the chinese said they were throwing in another $100 billion to support the program. then there's what people were talking about. there's still lack of clarity about how all these problgs will proceed, who will finance them, how they will be chosen and vetted and who will build them. the australian trade minister said he hopes to see more transparent procedures, so investors can get involved. >> i think at a time they would be looking to almost a one stop shop where they can go, find projects, find out or register their interest to be involved so they can share their experience and their track record. more clarity around how that might actually operate and what that might actually look like, i think that would be beneficial.
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>> reporter: trump administration official matt pottinger who represented the u.s. at the talks said american companies have much to offer, though he, too, said the success of the initiative would depend on its transparency. the potential benefits for u.s. construction, engineering and infrastructure equipment companies could be huge. but that would mean that president xi's china would have to follow through on its pledge to remain open to everyone. for "nightly business report," beijing. scientific instrument maker thermal fisher strikes a $5 billion deal and that's where we begin tonight's market focus. they will buy drug ingredients maker path onas it grows its development and manufacturing capabilities. the deal will improve earnings, and help the company better serve its pharmaceutical and biotech customers. thermal fisher shares rose to
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172.26. pathion shares to 34.60. the hotel booking website tri vago turned a profit in the latest quarter. it will help by improvements made to the company's technology and algorithms. its shares jumped almost 12% to $19.96. pharmaceutical company ionas said its experimental drug for treating a rare disease that affects the nervous system met its goals during a study trial. but the company also noted that the medication caused a serious side effect in three patients, resulting in one fatality. that news concerned the investors, but it was a positive for rival biotech alnimam developing a similar treatment. shares of ionas finished down to $43.90, while alnimum soared to $66 even. water and drainage pipe maker said unfavorable weather conditions caused the company to
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post sales missing estimates. the company also posted a wider than expected loss. down to $14.93. in a blog post today, sears's ceo said the retailer had seen business suffer as a result of suppliers trying to take advantage of the negative financial predictions surrounding the retailer. lampert called out one lender in particular, china based one world, which makes power tools for sears. he said the company threatened to file a lawsuit unless sears gives in to what lampert calls, quote, unreasonable demands. sears shares off 12% to $8.31. the hotel operator la quinta may soon be up for sale. it wants to spin off its retail assets and is preparing to speak to potential buyers. the report also noted there is no guarantee a deal will take place. following the news, la quinta shares rose 13% to 15.17 cents. waymo alphabet's self-driving car unit is teaming
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up with the uber rival lyft. the two companies plan to work together to bring autonomous vehicles into the mainstream, though details were scant. the companies plan to clab rat on pilot products and product development effort. lyft is uber's biggest rival in the u.s. and it has tentative legal issues. uber's legal issues played out in a courtroom where a judge issued a mixed ruling. the court rejected waymo's request to prevent uber from using allegedly stolen self-driving technology. but the court officially barred an engineer from working on the program. a move that could be a setback for uber's development efforts. waymo had accused the engineer of stealing trade secrets. >> on this day 20 years ago amazon went public. it started out as a money-losing online bookstore. its ipo valued it at little more than $400 million.
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fast forward 20 years later, add some zeros to the valuation. over the past two decades, the company did things a little differently. it's been intensely focused on growth over profit, putting new cash in amazon prime and the cloud service. today it's profitable, dominating retail, and changing the indust its stock has gone from under $2 split adjusted to above $955 today per share. the founder and ceo the second richest person in the world. >> that looks like a 48,000% return. so, with the stock at or near an all-time high, is amazon still a buy today? r.j. is consumer equity strategist joining us to discuss. the stock today about $955 a share. should i buy it here, expecting more profit? and if so, how much? >> yeah, i think it's still a
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buy here as jeff likes to say, still day one of a lot of things they're working on. i don't think anybody's come up with a better business model than amazon prime, becoming the marketplace of choice for a lot of sellers. and a lot of untapped potential for web services as well as some of the voice recognition, image recognition technology they have out there. i think this company still has a lot of growth ahead of it in the next five years. steady profits, a lot of it backed by amazon web services. lots of other parts of the business as well. >> what parts of the business do you find most attractive? prime? the cloud? where do you think amazon is skauting the most effectively? >> i think you hit a lot of those. i think amazon prime will go down as one of the most customer facing developments in the last deca retention rates extremely high in that business. frankly, unless you're getting something else better from a
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competitor, you're probably not going to leave amazon prime. amazon web services is one of the most misunderstood services out there, just another play in the cloud space, but there's a lot more to amazon web services. software vendors, i think that's really compelling. with what they have, with alexa and echo products, that can be very disruptive. think about the applications, in the consumer world, think about that technology being taken in the commercial world, running warehouses through this type of technology. that could be really valuable, something that may not be fully appreciated in the stock price right now. >> i fell in love with alexa, and now i've sort of fallen out of love with her. she doesn't understand me the way she used to, frankly. but are there any weak spots that you soo e? one of them that i hear a lot of my associates here say is that they were a little suspicious of having a microphone in their house that could potentially listen to everything. are there businesses or
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vulnerabilities anywhere there you see in amazon? >> yeah. i think that's one of the first ones that you think about. that there's potential risk with that. all it takes is one breach of data with that. and potentially that could be very disruptive for the growth plans there. a lot of things going on with a large company. execution risk here, too, do they have too many things going on. think back a couple of years like amazon fire phone which was a flop. they can get into areas that don't align with their core business. thankfully more recently we've seen most of the investments being more aligned with the marketplace. that's still a risk you have to factor in with this company. renovation nation, why homeowners are pouring big money into home improvement.
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philadelphia is suing wells fargo. the city is accusing the largest u.s. mortgage lender of steering minority borrowers into higher cost home loans than it offered to white borrowers. the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the federal fair housing act and seeks damages. the city also said the practice reflects a, quote, total breakdown of appropriate internal controls, end quote. wells fargo calls those accusations unsubstantiated. home builders are optimistic. isn't that nice. after slumping in april, sentiment is now at its second highest level since the recession. according to the national association of home builders, the industry expects stronger sales ahead even as it deals with higher building costs and shortages of land and labor.
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>> which brings us to home depot, which reports its earnings tomorrow. its quarterly results come as homeowners continue to sink cash into their homes again. remodeling is booming. it's not just about the usual updates in the kitchen and in the bath. diana olick explains. >> really opened up the whole floor plan. >> reporter: ann adores her newly remodeled home. especially the personalized wine dispenser. >> you want a wow factor. >> reporter: originally she wasn't in the market for a fixer upper. >> i looked for quite a time. put contracts on other places. >> reporter: the competition was rough and the prices kept going higher. >> you can't put contingencies on your contract. you have to offer over the asking price which is not the norm. >> reporter: she settled on a project and got to work. it's a story repeated from coast to coast in one of the most
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competitive real estate markets ever, with huge gains in the home remodeling business. predicted to be up nearly 7% this year. they are spending 60% more on the average project than they did a year ago, according to home adviser. that may be because home equity has doubled in the past four years, and homeowners are finally ready to tap into it again. demographics are also behind the growth. >> the baby boomers are definitely driving our business. >> reporter: keith said he's doing projects to help baby boomers age in place as well as to upgrade urban condos. >> they can age in place. they have standards. they want to move into a place that's ready for them. a lot of times they'll have us fix it up before they move in. >> so you're fixing up condos downtown. >> a lot of condos. >> reporter: but the biggest driver is the cost of moving, both faninancial and emotional.
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a lot of clients in the end decide to stay put. >> they're doing home renovations over moving. >> because the competition is just too fierce? >> the competition is out of control. >> reporter: for "nightly business report," i'm diana olick finally tonight, a great time to be a college grad. new report said the starting average salary for class of '17 is just under 50,000 bucks. that's a record. my starting salary was 12 grand. >> that's about where mine was, too. that does it for us tonight. i'm sue herera. >> i'm tyler mathisen. thanks from me as well. we'll see you tomorrow.
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